Drought Deterred

Poem By S. J. Fulton

Staten Island summer.
Lawns dry and bleached as sand,
leaves withering like wrinkled old men
while we sog and sweat
in air thick as a bathtub sponge.
How can so much water hang in the hot sky
for so many weeks,
sculpting endless clouds
that tease with sly promise,
then thumb their noses
and dissipate without a bead of rain?

“Save water—shower with a friend.”

We lean out windows, fire-breathing draggin’s.
Breath’s in short pants.
So are we.
Everyone’s stripped to bare necessities,
we’d peel off skin if we could.

Wait... was that stray touch
a wispy zephyr
drifting down from Canada?
In the Catskills the little men bowl nine-pins.
We hearken and hope.
Suddenly angels tip out sacks of potatoes
on heaven’s floor just above us.
Old Jupe casts Vulcan’s bolt,
bringing down acrid ozone
to our sidewalk.

Falls a sky drop, a shy drop,
then another—dare we believe it?
The rain begins sedate as a Mozart minuet,
Up-tempos through John Lewis’s laid back jazz
and Ginger Baker’s rat-a-tat rock
to Jose Greco’s stamp act.

Time to dance! Who could stay indoors?
We run out into it,
Join neighbors in a conga about the flagpole,
cheering, hugging, laughing, swimming
in the downpour—
drenched primitives
in a suburban rain dance:
“Thank you, God, for your lawn-sprinkler! ”
“Thank you, God, for your car wash! ”

A neighbor complains,
“Hope it clears later on
so I can go to the beach.”

We drown him.

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